Vian Van Der Watt of South Africa takes on the New Zealand defence. Photo: Getty Images
CAPE TOWN: South Africa ended the dominance of New Zealand in the IRB Junior World Championship with a thrilling 22-16 final triumph at Newlands on Friday.
A capacity 33,210 crowd saw the Baby Boks overcome a 10-9 half-time deficit against the Baby Blacks with scrum-half Vian van der Watt and inside centre Jan Serfontein crossing for second-half tries.
The rest of the South African points came from fly-half Handre Pollard, who succeeded with three of six penalty attempts and slotted a drop goal on the hour mark to give his team a 17-13 advantage.
South Africa's Wiaan Liebenberg holds the trophy. Photo: AFP
Left wing Milford Keresoma went over on 34 minutes for the lone New Zealand try with fly-half Ihaia West contributing the other points via a conversion and three penalties.
New Zealand won the previous four editions of the Junior World Championship since it was introduced in 2008 while South Africa finished third three times and sixth last year.
A titanic end-to-end struggle between the under-20 sides captivated the crowd and created a wonderful atmosphere and advertisement for rugby union, apart from an ugly incident on 58 minutes.
South Africa lock Paul Willemse pulled the flowing dreadlocks of massive New Zealand prop Ofa Tu'ungafasi, who retaliated by punching the aggressor and both received red cards from English referee Greg Garner.
The Baby Blacks squandered a late chance to close the gap when they overthrew at a line-out close to the South African try-line, surrendered possession and it was the home team who finished camped in opposition territory.
Wales, who upset New Zealand in the pool phase before suffering a semi-finals hiding from the same side, finished third with a 25-17 victory over Argentina after withstanding a late Baby Pumas rally.
Ireland defeated France 18-7 for fifth place, England edged Australia 17-13 in the seventh-place play-off, Scotland crushed Samoa 62-28 to come ninth and Fiji pipped Italy 19-17 to avoid the wooden spoon in the 12-team championship.
SOUTH AFRICA 22 (Vian van der Watt, Jan Serfontein tries; Handre Pollard 3 pens, dg) def NEW ZEALAND 16 (Milford Keresoma try; Ihaia West con, 3 pens).